Four Chelsea players that need to step up in 16/17…

Chelsea’s previous campaign was memorable for all of the wrong reasons on the back of winning the Premier League the season before.

At a time when the club and its fans were looking to build on their success under Mourinho, the club imploded and out went the Chelsea boss, followed by internal recriminations, the bringing in of a caretaker manager and a season to forget.

With only the domestic front to look forward to in 16/17, the new manager has some work to do. However, it won’t all be down to Antonio Conte, as the players will have to step up to the mark and show some pride.

Under Conte, it appears that they will not know what hit them, should they give him less than 100%.

There were some who gave nowhere near that last year and here are four that need to watch their step…

Thibaut Courtois

West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea - Barclays Premier League

Only a few weeks ago, the 23-year-old Belgian stopper was showing Europe that he was in fact a very compotent keeper.

Courtois had a very disappointing 15/16 campaign and levelled part of the blame at the Chelsea goalkeeping coach, Christophe Lollichon, saying he had lost confidence in him.

Conte told the keeper that he wanted him to stay, but the goalkeeper needs to be under no illusion that the Italian is watching him carefully.

Former manager Guus Hiddink stressed last season the two still maintained a professional relationship despite being “different personalities”, with the shot stopper frequently linked with a move away since then.

It may well be that Conte will bring his own keeper in this time next year if the situation persists.

Abdul Baba Rahman

Chelsea v Leicester City - Barclays Premier League

Rahman’s pace, ability to read the game and get forward to make telling crosses shone through in Champions League games against Dynamo Kiev and Paris Saint-Germain.

However, his confidence was then given a massive knock by interim manager Guus Hiddink. The Dutchman hauled the defender off at half-time in a 2-1 win at Southampton at the end of February, following a mistake which allowed the Saints to score.

Towards the end of the season, Hiddink was so short of left-backs that he had to play Rahman. This season, Conte may give the defender more of a chance, but he will have to show what he’s capable of quickly.

Rufus Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

When Conte was still trying to lure Roma’s Radja Nainggolan to Stamford Bridge, Loftus-Cheek might have been a part of the deal – going the other way.

One of Chelsea’s youth academy products, Loftus-Cheek has a lot to prove. This season, Conte appears to want the 20-year-old to be a big part of the Blues midfield.

The Italian is putting his faith in the youngster, saving him millions in transfer fees, but should Loftus-Cheek fail to deliver, then millions is what Conte will need to spend to replace him.

Kurt Zouma

RZ Pellets WAC v Chelsea - Pre Season Friendly

The France international hasn’t played since February, but is now preparing for his return next season.

Zouma suffered a heartbreaking knee ligament injury in February which ended his season and also his chances of playing at the Euros.

But the Chelsea defender has stepped up his recovery as he looks to make a good impression on Chelsea’s new manager.

The France international was establishing himself as a first choice defender in Chelsea’s back four and now faces a new challenge under Conte, but Zouma has insisted that he will be back stronger.

Roma are reportedly keeping tabs on the French international as a potential replacement for German Antonio Rudiger, should he leave, but it could be a way out for Zouma in the future, if working under Conte doesn’t work for both parties.